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Long enough ago to have certainly passed the statute of limitations, I misrepresented myself to serial killers. I filled pink envelopes with letters hand-written with feminine looping script and mailed them off to some of the most heinous criminals alive in America at the time. I felt that I was far more likely to receive replies if I presented myself as female. Every day after mailing those pink envelopes, I visited my vaguely anonymous and most likely illegally obtained P.O. Box hoping for a reply from the likes of Charles Manson, or David Berkowitz. Finally, one of these men wrote back. The letter I received was from “The Night Stalker,” Richard Ramirez.
Richard Ramirez put Los Angeles in a panic in the mid 80s. He murdered indiscriminately and as such no one was excluded from being his next potential victim. Frustrated with their inability to apprehend the serial killer operating in their city, the L.A. police began stopping and searching anyone who looked suspicious. Before the ordeal was over, they would even encourage the public to call 911 if they heard dogs barking at night.
Finally, after arrogantly leaving a survivor to tell of her horrible encounter with The Night Stalker, Richard Ramirez was caught. His trial took a full year to reach its conclusion and Ramirez was sentenced to death. During his year-long trial women flocked to the court house to see, in person, this dreamy murderer of 13 people.
High profile serial killers are known to regularly receive hundreds of letters like the ones I sent. Unlike my letters though, most of them come from actual females who have a genuine and often romantic interest in these incarcerated men. Richard Ramirez himself received dozens of letters from adoring women during his trial, and hundreds more during his time in San Quentin. He eventually broke many hopeful hearts when he married one of the women who had written to him. Including Ramirez, 3 San Quentin death row inmates tied the knot on that very same day.
This desire for a relationship with incarcerated law breakers is known as Hybristophilia. It’s uncertain if Hybristophilia would be considered a condition or a fetish, but the hybristophiliac population is comprised of, surprisingly enough, some very intelligent women. In fact, 70% of these women hold college degrees. Why would these women seek out relationships with men who can offer them so little? Why do the most violent and destructive men alive have so many suitors?
In this episode of Where is the Line?, we’ll discuss my catfishing of The Night Stalker and answer the questionnaire that Richard Ramirez included with his reply to me. We’ll also awkwardly segue into a discussion about Hybristophilia and share a few stories of love behind bars.
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Burbank twin rejects bride of “stalker”. (1996, October 4). The Daily News of Los Angeles Retrieved from https://advance.lexis.com/api/document?collection=news&id=urn:contentItem:47N3-VBY0-00D6-M0HP-00000-00&context=1516831
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Freed, D., & Landsbaum, M. (1985). Car recovered, scoured for stalker clues. Los Angeles Times (1923-1995) Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/154281449?accountid=14472
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The guardian: Why are women drawn to men like this?: Ian huntley, the man charged with the soham murders, gets bundles of fan mail every day. meanwhile, more than 100 british women are engaged or married to men on death row in the US. denise mina investigates the appea. (2003). Guardian, the (London, England)
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Linda Deutsch and, Don Thompson. (2013, ). Serial killer richard ramirez dies – QUOTE OF THE WEEK. Compton Bulletin, the (CA)
The night stalker’s groupies – 1990 KRON 4 report.
Pelisek, C. (2013, -06-14). My uncle the serial killer: ‘Night stalker’ richard ramirez’s niece on his death. Retrieved from https://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/06/14/my-uncle-the-serial-killer-night-stalker-richard-ramirez-s-niece-on-his-death
Sally jesse raphael - christine lee Retrieved from https://youtu.be/Wzb65Ol5j6I
Slavikova, M., & Panza, N. R. (2014). Characteristics and personality styles of women who seek incarcerated men as romantic partners: Survey results and directions for future research. Deviant Behavior, 35(11), 885-902. doi:10.1080/01639625.2014.897120
TOMIK, S. (2009). Killer groupies – for some women, love is having a relationship with a murderer.
Warrick, P. (1996, Oct 3,). ‘I saw something . . . that captivated me’. Los Angeles Times Retrieved from https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1996-10-03-ls-49781-story.html
Wride, N. (1985, ). Random auto checks held after night stalker attack. Los Angeles Times (1923-1995) Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/154366420?accountid=14472
Soo no cute . Good pod . I’ve never wanted to write a serial killer except for this or that just recently found in Chattanooga, Tennessee . Wish there was more on that guy.
This is sooo adorable. Catfishing… noodling?… Richard!? The plan was solid and the dedication commendable. You earned it. Great episode. Best podcast out for this kind of content barr none!